Midnight In The Desert — coma

A man regained consciousness after 15 years in a vegetative state.

Posted by K R on

A man regained consciousness after 15 years in a vegetative state.

It’s difficult to agree on one definition of consciousness, so it’s confusing to read reports that someone who was in a coma for 15 years suddenly regained it. What does it mean to be aware of yourself and the world around you? If you pass out and then “regain consciousness,” it's clear that you woke up with many of the same abilities you had when you shut your eyes. But that’s not what happened to this patient. What did he regain? A case report out today in Current Biology tells of one man who had a car accident 15 years...

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Doctors use ultrasound to jump-start coma patient's brain

Posted by K R on

Doctors use ultrasound to jump-start coma patient's brain

We're getting better at predicting when a patient might come out of a coma, but helping them recover is another matter. Even after a patient wakes up, the effects of being in a persistent unconscious state can result in severe brain injury. Recovery can take ages, but doctors at UCLA are testing a new treatment that could speed things up dramatically: using low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation to "jump-start" a patient's brain. The research is still early, but it seems to be working for at least one 25-year-old patient, who showed "remarkable" improvement after the treatment. Before doctors used sonic stimulation...

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New Test Can Determine Which Coma Patients Will Wake Up

Posted by K R on

New Test Can Determine Which Coma Patients Will Wake Up

A new test could help identify patients who have the potential to wake up from a coma, a loss of awareness or response to stimuli. Under current procedures, up to 40% of coma patients are misdiagnosed. The new test can predict who will wake up within a year with 94% accuracy. An international team of researchers have discovered that the amount of glucose (sugar) consumed by the brain can directly predict a person’s future level of awareness. Using a type of position emission tomography (PET) scan, they measured the amount of sugar being metabolized by the brain. Ron Kupers from...

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